FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Twenty years ago, the use of fireworks in the City of Fresno was illegal.
Now, some residents are calling to bring that ban back
“Somebody has to do something. This has to stop,” said Dom Simmons, who created a petition to ban fireworks in the city except on designated holidays. So far, the petition has more than 1,200 signatures.
“My neighbors are being hurt. It’s damaging our quality of life here, and it’s not worth it to have a few booms,” he said.
According to the Fresno Fire Department, there have been nearly 100 illegal fireworks complaints in just the last five days, and it’s causing a strain on a department that’s already understaffed.
Councilmember Miguel Arias says all of Fresno’s firefighters will be working overtime on July 4th, and, depending on how the weekend goes, the city council might consider a firework ban. However, there are a few obstacles.
“One: firework sales are used by a lot of non-profit organizations for fundraising. Two: we can’t simply ban fireworks without having enforcement resources to find the people who are doing it illegally. Three: how do we give access to residents and kids who want to experience a great Fourth of July fireworks show?” Arias said.
Arias says the council is also discussing increasing the fine amount for illegal fireworks. He asks the public to be safe this holiday weekend before the council must take more action.
“If we have the worst Fourth of July in terms of fires, it will force the hand of city officials, including myself, to consider banning fireworks permanently,” he said.
As a reminder, legal fireworks are marked with a “Safe and Sane” sticker, and setting off illegal fireworks can result in a fine of more than $1,200 or a felony charge.
City officials ask that residents report illegal fireworks using the FresGo app.